The 2020 U.S. Presidential Debates are a series of televised debates between the 2020 Presidential candidates President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Vice President Joe Biden. The first of the debates took place on September 29th, 2020, with subsequent debates set to occur on October 15th and October 22nd. A vice presidential debate is scheduled for October 7th, 2020.
On August 6th, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) confirmed that both President Trump and Vice President Biden confirmed their participation in the 2020 Presidential Debates. That day, the CPD announced the dates and locations for each debate:
First presidential debate:
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH
Vice presidential debate:
Wednesday, October 7, 2020
The University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Second presidential debate:
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Miami, FL
Third presidential debate:
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Belmont University, Nashville, TN
On September 2nd, 2020, the CPD announced the Moderators for each debate. They are:
Chris Wallace, Anchor, Fox News Sunday
Vice Presidential Debate:
Susan Page, Washington Bureau Chief, USA Today
Steve Scully, Senior Executive Producer & Political Editor, C-SPAN Networks
Kristen Welker, Co-Anchor Weekend TODAY, White House Correspondent, NBC News
Online Reaction to First Debate
Online the debate was the subject of much conversation. On Reddit, several threads, including those on /r/politics, /r/insanepeoplefacebook and /r/okbuddyretard received more than 27,000 points.
Redditor Quickflik posted the Moose Family in Kiddie Pool Watching Car Fire with the caption “Me, a Canadian, watching the presidential debate.” The post received more than 142,000 points (88% upvoted) and 3,500 comments in less than 24 hours (shown below).
Many online criticized the participants and moderator, Chris Wallace, in the first debate, commenting on the interruptions by President Trump and the lack of substance during the debate. That day, ABC News published a video of an example of the interruptions. The post received more than 47,000 likes and 14,000 retweets in less than 24 hours (shown below).
“Mr. President, let him answer!”
“Mr. President, please stop.”
Moderator Chris Wallace repeatedly tries to keep Pres. Trump from interrupting Joe Biden.
— ABC News (@ABC) September 30, 2020
Trump’s Statement to Proud Boys
During the debate, moderator Chris Wallace said to President Trump: “You have repeatedly criticized the vice president for not specifically calling out Antifa and other left-wing extremist groups. But are you willing tonight to condemn white supremacists and militia group and to say that they need to stand down and not add to the violence in a number of these cities as we saw in Kenosha and as we’ve seen in Portland?”
After some back and forth, President Trump agreed to tell “white supremacist and right-wing militia” to “stand down.” He said:
Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I’ll tell you what somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left because this is not a right-wing problem this is a left-wing.
Many online were offended that the President did not denounce the group, which the FBI has identified as having ties to white nationalism. Reporter Brian Karen tweeted, “That was unlike anything I’ve ever seen in 35 years covering politics. I respect whatever choice you make in voting – but I don’t know how you can hold your head high and vote for @realDonaldTrump.” The post received more than 31,000 likes and 8,000 retweets in less than 24 hours (shown below, left).
PBS Correspondent Yamiche Alcindor tweeted, “Moment to remember. Q to Trump: Would you condemn white supremacists? Trump doesn’t answer the question & brings up ANTIFA. Wallace: Will you condemn white supremacists? Trump: ‘Proud Boys, stand back & stand by.’ That is not a condemnation by any stretch of the imagination.” The tweet received more than 39,000 likes and 14,000 retweets in less than 24 hours (shown below, center).
New York Times correspondent Mike Baker tweeted, The Proud Boys are ecstatic tonight about getting mentioned in the debate tonight. ‘Trump basically said to go fuck them up! this makes me so happy,’ writes one prominent Proud Boy.” The post includes screenshots from the website Parlor of people celebrating his comments. The post received more than 22,000 likes and 18,000 (shown below, right).
Baker continued to share a new logo that included the phrase (shown below). He wrote, “The Proud Boys are now sharing the group’s logo with the president’s words emblazoned like a slogan.
Will You Shut Up, Man
Responding to his interruptions, Vice President Biden told President Trump, “Will you shut up, man?” The clip went viral online and inspired a campaign t-shit that featured the phrase (shown below, left and right).